Index (publishing)

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Image of a page from the index of an encyclopedia
The first page of the Index to the Book of Knowledge, 1919 Vol 20

An index is a detailed list of information in a printed publication. This information can include names of people, places, things, events, or ideas that a reader may want to find. Next to each name is a page number.[1]

In a printed book, the index is found at the end. It should not be mixed up with the table of contents, which is placed near the beginning of the book. The table of contents gives the order of chapters within the book. The index is different from the table of contents because it gives the page location of detailed information inside the book.[2]

The words in an index are given in alphabetical order, first words beginning with A, then with B, then with C, and so forth.

Indexing as we know it today had to grow over a long time of history. It depended on the invention of the alphabet. It depended on the invention of the book (or codex, at first). And, as we have it today, it depended on the invention of the printed book. Gutenberg's printing press of around 1440 made this possible.[3] The first printed index is found in St. Augustine's De arte praedicandi. This book was made in the early 1460s in Mainz, Germany by the printers of the Gutenberg bible.[4]

Indexes today are usually made by paid professionals who are hired by the publisher when the book is ready to be printed. Often these indexers are members of professional groups, such as the Society of Indexers in Britain or the American Society for Indexing.[5]

Related Pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "index". Oxford Reference - The Oxford Companion to the Book. 2010. Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  2. "contents, table of". Oxford Reference - The Oxford Companion to the Book. 2010. Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  3. Combs, Michele. "Indexing, History Of". EBSCOhost. Retrieved March 11, 2023.[permanent dead link]
  4. Bell, Hazel K. (2001). Indexers and Indexes in Fact & Fiction. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. 17-18. ISBN 978-0802084941.
  5. Duncan, Dennis (2022). Index, A History of the. New York: W. W. Norton. pp. 139. ISBN 9781324002543.